Is the cost of fighting climate change low? US, EU and UN say yes in leaked handbook
One of the hardest parts of fighting climate change is convincing countries around the world to cut carbon emissions and make other changes for the environment. A new document leaked from the UN shows that the U.S. and the European Union are hoping to play up the low cost of making changes towards renewable resources. The document is slated to be published on November 2.
Costs of taking on the switch to new environmentally-friendly energy sources "will be almost insignificant relative to projected growth," says the handbook from the UN, written by a group of scientists who study climate change. The 32-page document is currently undergoing editing, but it will be published soon.
This document is part of a push by the UN to help bring world governments to an agreement about cutting carbon dioxide emissions when they meet at a summit in Paris in December 2015. Scientists say that the need to cut carbon emissions to curb climate change is urgent. This year, 2014, is projected to be the warmest year on record, with unusually warm weather this fall. The report was released yesterday, October 20, by the NOAA.
Part of the problem with talking about climate change is making it understandable to a layperson not familiar with scientific terminology. The U.S. called much of the UN report dense.
The document "may be impenetrable to the policymaker or the public," the United States said.
Countries around the world have the potential to change things by increasing communication and talking to each other. Another study released today, from the Climate Action Tracker project, showed that the U.S. and China could potentially cut carbon dioxide emissions drastically by talking to each other about techniques each country has learned and sharing technology. China could cut carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 20 percent, and the US by about 16 percent. For example, China's cement factories have fewer carbon dioxide emissions than American ones, but U.S. iron and steel plants are more efficient than Chinese ones. China and the United States are the world's two top contributors to carbon dioxide emissions.